The new Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Downloadable Content is upon us. Dawnguard is the title of the DLC soul gem and has you either teaming up with Vampire hunters known as the Dawnguard or getting bitten by the charismatic vampire clan. While both decisions give you a unique story line some might say that one holds more Skyrim than the other. Even with that said the new DLC brings a couple new things to the table in the form of a new vampire mode, a crossbow, and 2 new factions to team up with. Let’s see if Bethesda has what it takes to add-on to its Epic Skyrim which was released last November.
In true Elder Scrolls fashion the content of the DLC starts off with a horde of Vampires attacking the good would be citizens of Whiterun… Well at least in our case. You are then asked if you want to join the Dawnguard and get things started. From here you are allowed to find a new place to visit which is the Dawnguards hideout. You are then quickly tasked with finding out why those loving sharp teeth Twilight lovers are investigating a cave. Once you have tamed some of the undead bloodsuckers you then get to make some decision-making of your own on whether to join the vamps in their desire for blood or stick a stake through the hearts of the gothic humanoids.
Once you have made your decision you will be allowed to travel down the path of two different campaigns. The Dawnguard campaign will allow you to create a following of Wesley Snipes Blade wanna bees as your main task will be to stop the Vampires. While this campaign feels great and all it seems almost as if you have been down this path before in the content found in the original Skyrim game… Dark Brotherhood or Thieves Guild anyone? Dawnguard feels more like a guild if anything however some perks that do come with the quests is the ability to bring trolls with battle armor which is a treat once you do get to buy the fowl breathed beasts to become your followers. Even if the campaign has much to be left desired in the Vampire hunting department it is still a welcomed addition to Skyrim which is all about decision making.
While the Dawnguard route suffers from feeling deja vu like. The Vampire campaign feels totally different and new to the series. Yes we had a similar guild known as the companions in the main game however the Vampire setting just feels like it is done right. This is especially found when setting out to the Castle for the first time which is known as Volkihar. The keeper of the castle and its clan is known as The Vampire Lord Harkan. It is here when you get to choose whether or not to inherit the powers of the bloodsuckers. With the new powers you are granted a skill tree and the ability to change into a vampire whenever you would like. Which is both powerful and awesome as you get to corrupt all of Tamriel as you desire. The castle lair and its portal which will be discovered later are the highlights of the DLC as it brings something totally new and fresh that doesn’t feel repetitive.
As for other additions you will find that new monsters have been added. Gargoyles, Death Hounds, and Bonemen. All of which can become followers or conjured up only adds to the great character design. Yet again however, the DLC feels lacking as far as enemies and well ways to mangle them. If only more enemies like the troll pictured above was more well crafted. It is nice to wield a blade with a fire enchanment and take the troll down because he is weak to that kind of power. Yet the game needs more of these kinds of enemies that have weakness to certain items, spells and enchantments.
All in all Dawnguard feels average at best even though it has an awesome vampire storyline. With other additions like the ability to change your face it just doesn’t feel right not to create the vampire or werewolf for that matter the way you want. As far as the gameplay is concerned the only new elements added is the crossbow and vampire transformation which well leaves us wanting a bit more weapons to choose from. Dawnguard still merits a download, yet it should only be downloaded by the hardcore fans of the elder scroll series. Since if you aren’t a fan you might be feeling well a little short-changed by this one. Here is to hoping the folks at Bethesda can give us a larger more immersive experience like the one found in Skyrim.